Where possible, we support the integration of young people with physical and mental disabilities into regular Venturer Units.
Scouts NSW hosts a yearly special needs training conference available to all Leaders, which is designed to:
- teach Leader strategies that can be used when working with young people with special needs.
- outline the implications of including young people with a disability into a Venturer Unit.
- suggest modifications that can be made to the Venturer Scout program
- explain the responsibility Leaders have to the whole Venturer Unit.
Joining a group
Before attending a Venturer Unit meeting, parents should arrange to meet with the Group Leader and Section Leader. This provides time to discuss the child’s needs and medical issues. It also gives the Leader confidence to answer questions from other members of the Unit.
Leaders who have youth with a special need in their Venturer Unit prepare their programs, taking care to include suitable activities and games. It may be necessary to modify some activities to include youth with special needs but there may also be some times where the youth with the special need has to withdraw from an activity or game. In some games the special needs youth can participate in a role such as time keeper or referee.
Achievement in the Scouting program is assessed on a “best of my ability” basis. In some cases, alternate challenges may have to be found, e.g. a youth who is paraplegic is not able to do a bush walk but may be able to do a canoe trip or a wheelchair hike.
Please note, however, that:
- Scouting cannot cater for all situations. In some cases a request to join may be denied.
- Not all Leaders are confident to look after a youth with a special need.
- Not all Groups or Sections have sufficient Leaders to provide extra attention to a youth with a special need.
- Not all Scout halls have suitable facilities to cater for specific special needs.
There are a number of Special Needs Scout Groups in NSW, including 1st Cooks Hill in Newcastle, Bangor Kangaroos in Sutherland Shire, 1st Cromehurst in Ku-ring-gai and Campbelltown Ghost.
“Agoonoree” is an extension of “Agoon”, a term originally coined by Scouts from The Netherlands and derived from the Greek word, “agon”, which means a struggle or special effort to work for something special. The first Agoon was held in The Netherlands in 1949 and the second Agoon was held in the United Kingdom in 1958.
The Agoonoree provides an opportunity for ALL scouts and guides, and especially those with special needs, to gather and enjoy a wide range of activities and make new friends.
The NSW Agoonoree is held every year for NSW scouts and guides, and open to ALL members throughout Australia and overseas. Agoonorees are also held overseas, including the Asia-Pacific Region, and are open to Scouts with special needs from Australia.
- It is important for parents of a child with special needs to communicate openly with the Leader and to encourage their child to be involved as much as possible.
- Parents may be requested to provide additional assistance when required.
- Our Leaders are all volunteers; they need your support in order to make Scouting fun for all young people in the Venturer Unit.
Contact our membership hotline on 1800 SCOUTS (1800 726 887) or [email protected] about Scouts with Special Needs.